Everything in life begins with noticing.
What is sensuality? Sensuality can be defined as the ability to fully enjoy our senses: touch, smell, taste, sight and hearing. It doesn’t have to be sexual, so don’t confuse the two. Sexual confidence however can often refer to body insecurity, which in turn means “not knowing how to be in your body.” And sensuality is in a way the ability to be fully in your body. Being sensual grounds us in our body, and we live in the present moment. To be sensual is to be completely human; and we get to experience ourselves, and this life, through many different ways; through all of our senses. This makes us more imaginative, and thus, more erotic.
What is eroticism? Eroticism isn’t sex; it’s sexuality transformed by imagination and creativity. The ancient mystics described eroticism as aliveness, vitality, vibrancy, and ecstasy. In a way, eroticism is similar to mysticism because both are transgressive forces; breaking the boundaries of the known to take us outside of our own limitations and beliefs, and lead us into an expansive beingness, a world which negates the rational. Eroticism is an inner thing. So the road to it may not be pretty for some people; it means we have to face our own borders and limitations, insecurities, self-image, judgments and emotional tensions. In other words, our erotic self has to first battle our inner critic, so that we can expand beyond our borders.
Eroticism is about being receptive, willing, open and responsive. And it is about noticing. Who are the best lovers? Those who pay attention to their lover, to their needs and the natural scents of their true self, and know to make love in so many more ways than just with the genitals. When we widen the realm of the senses, we unconsciously begin to appreciate things as they are; and love is very much about appreciation and acceptance, which is what I write in “What True Love Really Is”.
Below I lead you through two exercises: the first is about widening the realm of our senses, the second is a sensory awakening ritual for couples. I’ve also previous featured an article discussing The Body Love Ritual, which you can read here.
Widening The Senses Exercises.
1. Apply lotion to your body and focus on how each part of you feels; focus on the sensation against your skin.
2. Experiment with self-pleasure.
3. Walk outside with bare feet.
4. Touch different surfaces around the house and notice how each texture is different; notice which ones do your hands like most.
5. Stretch different areas of your body and notice how they move, and which ones feel the most relief.
6. Let someone brush your hair.
7. Sleep naked in your bed.
8. Wear soft fabrics, such as silk lingerie.
9. Let your partner touch different parts of your body and notice the sensation and how each part feels; which ones increased your pulse (you can wear a blindfold, so you can focus more on the sensation).
10. Focus the movement of your body and belly, as you breathe. You can watch how your body moves in the mirror also.
1. Have a candle-lit hot bath with essensial oils and flowers.
2. Visit a perfumery and/or candle store and sample different scents.
3. Create your own scent blends by mixing oils.
4. Close your eyes, or wear a blindfold, and let your partner give you different candles or foods, so you can guess which is which.
5. Indulge in the scent of something before you eat it or drink, for example, tea or chocolate.
6. Notice how your skin smells. Notice how your partner smells. Smell your arms, smell his arms, his neck, his chest. Press noses to skins and rediscover “kissing”.
1. Eat with closed eyes or a blindfold; which taste are most pleasurable to you; which textures are most noticeable to you; in what ways does eating in the dark amplify your tastes or desires?
2. Try new foods and tastes. Eat slowly and experiment with eating with hands.
3. Let your partner feed you. Does the experience of tasting change for you?
1. Light a candle and dance/move in front of the mirror, noticing how your curves change in candle-light.
2. Visit a church or an old building and notice the engravings, hidden corners and details on the stained glass.
3. Perfect the art of slow motion; imagine you are a camera and sit still outside noticing how things move by; watch the sunset, watch fields in the wind, watch your loved ones laugh, watch your children play.
4. Light incense or candle and watch the smoke/flame move.
5. Run your eyes down your skin and notice the details of your body lines. How does it change in different lights; when you are outside, at sunset, or home in the morning? Notice the details of your partner too.
6. Practice receptive gaze. Undress yourself in front of the mirror, noticing how you feel about the curves of your body. Dance, or move slowly, or do naked yoga, and notice how your body stretches and moves. How does this change if you now put on jewelry?
1. Sit in a quiet spot, or in a dark room, and notice what sounds you can hear around you.
2. Listen to wind chimes with closed eyes – what does the sound say about the wind’s movements?
3. Experiment with your voice, by recording it and then listening to it (as uncomfortable as it’d be).
4. Listen to different languages; which sounds appeal to you the most.
5. Repeat a sentences ten times with closed eyes, and then notice how the sound and feeling changed, and how your mind and body changed with each repetition.
6. Let your partner ring a bell while you are with closed eyes, and experiment with distance, space, movement and volume.
Sensory Awakening Ritual For Couples.
“When eating or drinking, become the taste of the food or drink, and be filled” Shiva Sutra
Like we already discussed the senses are the gateways to Spirit. When we are completely absorbed in the sensory experience, then our limited minds fade away, and we “become” the touch, sound, taste, smell and sound. In these moments, we transcend the ordinary boundaries of self and move into an encompassing experience; away from our separate, dualistic perceptions and into oneness and wholeness.
The Sensory Awakening Ritual for couples is a gift to our beloveds and a beautiful way to connect; to rediscover and relearn the kissing, the holding and the love making. This ritual may take from 30 to 90 minutes, but give yourself and your partner as much time as you want.
“When receiving a caress, oh Princess, enter into it as everlasting life” Shiva Sutra
Select a room in the house that would become your temple. Clear away clutter. Decorate the temple with candles, flowers and however else you feel. Dress in something sensual and simple, perhaps some jewelry as well, and let your partner wear minimal clothing too. This time is now yours, for both of you, where you are devoted to one another, and fully present for one another. Blindfold your partner and lead them slowly and carefully into the room. Throughout the ritual, be gentle, slow, sensitive, kind and considerate of their comfort level and needs. Support your partner in trusting you and feeling safe enough in letting go (remember that it is really hard for all of us to let go and be guided without our eyes). If your partner feels uncomfortable and confused, then ask if there’s anything that they need, and never force anything, whether an exercise, outcome or a feeling to happen.
Begin with sound. You can use any of the following: bells, wind chime, rattle, whistle, flute, guitar, drums, harmonica, recorded music without lyrics, your own beautiful voice. Start with a soft sound, like a bell, and ring it (or produce this sound with your voice) some distance away from your partner, and then ring it again closer. Experiment with space, distance, movement, and volume of sound. Bear in mind that your partner is in a sensitised state, being blindfolded, so don’t make any sudden sounds which will shock them. Try a different sound object. Finish with something soft and romantic, a love song perhaps, or whispering in their ear how much you love them.
You can choose from the following: scented flowers, perfume, essential oils, herbs, aromatic foods/fruits, the naturally scented parts of your body. Offer your beloved one smell at a time. You can also let them smell the natural scents of your skin and body parts. When presenting perfumes or oils, spread them around in the air a little distance away, and then come closer.
Follow with tastes, such as exotic fruits or chocolates. Feed little pieces to your partner and let them savour the flavours. For extra fun and sensuality, touch your partner’s lips with the chocolate/fruit before sliding it into their mouths. Be mindful: being fed in such a way is an extremely vulnerable thing, which requires incredible amout of trust and receptivity will be different, may very well surprise you and your partner. Don’t take it in a negative way if there is hesitation or even refusal etcetera, because for some people this exercise may evoke strong feelings connected to past experiences of broken trust and even powerlessness. The feeding state specifically summons up body memories, both pleasant and unpleasant, of being fed as a baby, which may also bring up very deeply subconscious feelings. Feeding is also known to bond people deeply together on a very subconscious level, so I would only suggest this with someone to whom you are committed, because we must be responsible with other people’s hearts. Haing said all that: we can also replace old memories with new loving enjoyable experiences. So if your partner is opened to that, even if they’ve had trust issues in the past, this can be extremely healing for them.
Using something like a feather or a silk scarf, very slowly and very softly, as if almost not touching, caress the skin of your beloved, starting with the extremeties such as their hand or foot. Progress in continuous movement across their body. Next, use your fingertips in the same slow and sensitive way. You can also gently massage them towards the end to relax them even more.
Light candles in the room, if you haven’t already. Let your partner take off their blindfold, and let them look at you (no touching yet). Let them see how beautifully you’ve decorated the room, with flowers, candles, and most importantly, how attentive you’ve been to them. Allow the receptive gaze; let them receive your eyes in silence, as you theirs.
Let them know how much you love them and appreciate them. And continue to find new ways to appreciate one another, to love one another, to experience one another, to rediscover and relearn the kissing, the holding and the caring.